Instructor Mel gives a demonstration for a group of women at Smitten Adult Boutique during a pole dancing exercise class on Saturday evening. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Pole dancing has moved out of the strip clubs and into people’s homes.
Winnipeg-based Fantasy Pole Dancing hosted a pole dancing seminar at Smitten Adult Boutique on Saturday night, giving a group of 12 women a chance to work up a sweat while making their "inner goddess come out," according to Smitten store manager Nicole Epp.
"I honestly think it’s coming from a place where the regular old gym routine, the regular old exercise routine can become monotonous, it can become boring and you want to throw something fun into it," she said.
Epp admits pole dancing can be seen as a bit risqué form of exercise, but she said it’s not as taboo as it used to be.
"It’s definitely more about the exercise, about the fun and it’s about the women feeling good about themselves," Epp said. "It’s one of those things that makes a woman feel a little bit sexy about herself, makes her inner goddess come out a little bit more."
Pole dancing classes start off very simply for beginners, like the class on Saturday night, but the possibility for more intricate moves and physically demanding maneuvers are endless.
"It’s astounding what they can do with their bodies and be able to hang off of a pole using barely anything and the flexibility and the skill level you see from some of them is very impressive," Epp said as one participant interrupted saying "especially from 40-year-olds."
"Most people leave really excited, they leave with a smile on their face, they’ve exercised and half the time they don’t even realize it really until the next when your muscles are a little stiff."
Though the classes in Brandon have brought women out from 18-year olds all the way to 65, Epp said it’s the most popular with women in their late 20s.
"It’s wanting to get more active at that age and looking for more creative ways to do it."
One of the women in the group was a little shy about the experience, but said, for her, it was less about the exercise and more about a group of ladies out for a good time on a Saturday night.
"We’re just here for a night out, just to have fun," she said.
The instructor from Winnipeg, who ran the class on Saturday night, has been pole dancing for just over a year.
"It’s something that is fun, and flirty, and a little bit sexy but at the same time about an all-over body workout and really about doing something different," she said.
Still grappling with the strip club stigma, the sport has continued to grow in the past few years and class by class, Mel is looking to kill off misconceptions.
"It’s moved out of the clubs and moved into people’s homes and their living rooms and their kitchens," she said. "It’s something everyone can do."
"There are a lot of really cool things you can do, a lot of acrobatics and gymnastics you can do with the pole, but if not you can do a lot of dance."
Mel said sexuality is infused in many different types of dance and pole or no pole, styles like hip hop and jazz also have certain sexual undertones.
"People who are older and haven’t really seen it before may think ‘that’s kind of weird’ but if you really look at it and take the time, it’s a beautiful sport."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 4, 2013